If you’re in the market for a fly tying bobbin, look no further as we discuss 7 of the best fly tying bobbins and why we like them.
I’ve been tying flies for over 30 years. I’ve even tied flies semi-professionally. I also tie over 1000 flies a year since I have many custom fy patterns that I use when I’m guiding.
The right bobbin and even having multiple bobbins make tying so much easier.
What is a Fly Tying Bobbin?
A fly tying bobbin is a very handy and innovative tool that holds your thread spool along an axis with a long, tubular bobbin threader situated at right angles to that axis. The thread goes through the steel tube threader and out the far end. Then you tie the thread to your fly and use the bobbin to wrap the line around the fly to secure materials to the fly as needed.
Once the thread is attached to the fly, the bobbin holder holds the thread bobbin steady while allowing it to rotate as it hangs below your fly. It also allows you to pull out thread under light tension so you can wrap materials around the fly.
The fly tying bobbin is one of the essential fly tying tools that make it a lot easier to tie your own flies.
Anyone who enjoys fly fishing and tying flies should have more than one bobbin for tying flies so switching thread colors is easier. I even have multiple thread sizes for different fly patterns. See Thread Sizes Explained.
Let’s take a closer look at five of the best fly tying bobbins for holding thread spools while making it easier to create your own flies.
1. Rite Ceramic Standard Bobbin
The Ceramic Standard Rite bobbin is one of the best bobbins you will find at your local fly shop, and is as good a bobbin as you need for fly fishing.
The ceramic bobbin is smooth and enables you to adjust the tension easily as needed. You can buy a short, medium, or long nose bobbin for tying a variety of flies and multi colored flies.
The Rite bobbin uses a ceramic barrel to protect the thread and gives you consistent tension while using the same thread. You can switch to a new bobbin with a longer or shorter nose to match the specific thread that you need for tying your flies.
The ceramic insert could suffer damage if you were to drop it. The bobbin is among the higher-priced fly tying bobbins.
2. Rite Bobbin Half Hitch
The made-in-Montana, Rite bobbins are available in three sizes and make it a lot easier to tie flies. Each Rite bobbin gives you terrific thread control and comes with a stainless steel nose that is designed to prevent accidental cutting of the thread.
A terrific tensioning clamp on the side of the thread spool gives you superior control of the thread and spool, which won’t start spinning just because you bumped it. That it’s made in the USA makes it even better.
Can be a little difficult to fit in your hand, but that is a common issue with virtually any fly tying bobbin.
3. Stonfo Elite Disc Drag Bobbin
Fly fishing originated in Europe, and so does the Stonfo Elite Bobbin. The Italian-made fly tying bobbin has a single arm that attaches to an axle that runs through the thread spool. An adjustable knob enables you to dial in the perfect tension.
Stonfo is a global contender for the title of best fly tying bobbins and a proven maker of some of the best fly tying bobbins.
Its stainless steel tube is easy to thread and flared at the top to keep the thread intact while fly tying. The tension screw is easy to adjust gives you enough tension for different spool sizes. The fly tying bobbin fits all thread spools, which makes it one of the more versatile fly tying tools for tying small flies and larger ones.
The tensioner screw sometimes loosens on its own and could cause the thread to become loose. The tensioner screw can be stubborn to remove when you want to change spools while fly tying.
4. Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin
The Ergo Bobbin by Loon is a strong contender for the title of best fly tying bobbin due to its exceptional design, great value, and ergonomic fit. It has two arms that hold brass inserts that firmly hold a spool.
An ergonomically designed holder for the thread tube makes it easier and more comfortable to hold. You can buy the bobbin separately or as part of fly tying kit.
The Loon Ergo Bobbin fits comfortably and feels natural to hold in your palm and holds most sizes of spools. The Ergo Bobbin just might be the best fly tying bobbin when it comes to comfort and ease of use. It gives a good amount of tension and works well when spinning deer hair while fly tying.
Some spools won’t fit the fly tying bobbin, so you should save some that do to transfer the thread them from spools that won’t fit. The tension might overpower thinner threads and cause them to break if you are tying smaller flies.
5. Dr. Slick Glass Bobbin – Best Budget Bobbin
Dr. Slick makes some of the best fly tying gear, and the Dr. Slick glass bobbin is no exception. It looks like an inverted slingshot with two arms angling away from the center tube at about 45 degrees before turning straight down to the opposing Delrin feet for holding thread spools. Three different inserts help you to change the tube diameter to accommodate different thicknesses of thread.
The bobbin has three different nose lengths that you can change to make it easier to tie smaller flies or large flies as needed. You can use it with a titanium, ceramic, or dual glass bobbin insert. The Delrin feet give you plenty of automatic tension control that stays consistent while you are fly tying.
You might need a threader to more easily thread the bobbin. You also need to be careful with the ceramic bobbin insert, which could crack and damage the thread if you were to drop it.
6. Umpqua Dream Stream Medium Bobbin
The Dream Stream bobbin is one of the more affordable tying tools and is made from durable material that gives you good tension while holding spools inside two arms.
Two tensioning arms provide tension and give you a consistent release while a polished tube made from steel protects the thread against damage or accidental cuts.
The bobbin’s durable material ensures a very long service life and works well with heavy thread on larger spools and lighter thread on smaller spools. It’s more affordable than those offered by different bobbin manufacturers, so you can buy more than one to use for a variety of tying needs.
It’s a very basic bobbin that might not be the best at anything but does everything well. Its price point makes it ideal for anyone who is just learning how to tie flies, but it works well in experienced hands, too.
7. Stonfo Bobtec Bobbin
The Bobtec Bobbin is another great Stonfo creation. It has a simple design that helps to make it a durable and highly useful fly tying bobbin.
A steel tube is brushed to prevent The Bobtec Bobbin is perfectly balanced and very easy to manipulate while you are tying flies of any size.
Changing thread spools is very easy and helps to prevent the need for using other bobbins to fit different sizes of spools. A sliding thread control bar and tension clip give you precise control for fly tying.
The tension clip sometimes slides and loosens the spool. The nose of the snoot also might become loose but is easy to fix with a tiny drop of glue.
What to Look for in a Great Tying Bobbin
You need to know how to find the best bobbin for your fly tying needs. Some common elements help to separate a great bobbin from a good bobbin that might leave you wanting more. Here’s a closer look at how to identify a quality bobbin for the fly tying world.
A tension control system is important to ensure larger and smaller bobbins will securely fit spools when you are tying smaller or larger flies. A disc drag system is a newer innovation that enables you to give more tension as needed when you want to tie more material to larger flies, but can the ease the tension for tying small ones.
You don’t want a bobbin that will cut or damage the thread. You need bobbins that protect the thread and give you good tension control to keep the thread under control. Too much tension, and the thread can break. Internal tube finish is also important for protecting thread.
Internal Tube Finish
A smooth finish is important to prevent the tube from shredding or cutting the thread. The tube should be made from high-quality materials. Ceramic inserts or steel tubes are best to prevent growing and thread breakage.
Length of Bobbin – Size
You want your fly tying tool to be an appropriate length for the size of flies that you are tying. Bobbins that are a bit longer can make it easier to do delicate work with larger flies especially if you have big hands.
You could use bobbins with a shorter nose when you are tying small flies.
Palm Comfort and Weight – Comfort
You don’t want your hand and fingers to cramp up while fly tying, but that is exactly what can happen when you have to continually pinch down on a very small tube while controlling the bobbin to add the thread to your flies.
The best fly-tying bobbins are light and ergonomically designed so that you can grasp them easily with two fingers. The right side bobbin shout rest in your palm while applying the thread to your flies.
Do Bobbins Wear Out?
Well-made fly tying bobbins can last a lifetime and beyond if you use them properly. Mant have a ceramic insert in the tube to prevent growing. Bobbins without this insert might grove and wear out prematurely.
Store them in a dry place and try not to damage them in some way, like maybe sitting on one that you might have tucked into a rear pocket without thinking about it. It also would be possible to strip the threads on a bobbin with an end cap that you need to screw in to hold the spool of thread in place.
Do You Need a Bobbin to Tie Flies?
No one needs a fly tying bobbin to tie flies, but it makes it a whole lot easier and quicker to do. If you enjoy tying your own flies for fly fishing, you likely will find the best fly tying bobbin to be one of your favorite fly tying tools.
How Do I Load a Fly Bobbin?
Fly tying bobbins have either an axle that fits through thread spools or hubs on either side of the bobbin arms that hold the spools in place while you are fly tying. A fly tying bobbin with an axle probably has a tensioner screw that you need to remove to allow the spool to fit over the axle and then screw into place to secure it and give it some tension.
The Best Fly Tying Bobbins Q&A
If you have a question or comment, or would like to share your best fly tying bobbins, let us know in the comments section below.